Re: Scouts

Eve Pinsker (U56728@UICVM.BITNET)
Mon, 19 Dec 1994 00:16:53 CST

I too, was a Girl Scout and, like Elizabeth Vance, learned how to make
spaghetti over a campfire; unlike Elizabeth, I found that very useful in
fieldwork -- I made spaghetti over a fire for a family I was staying with in
rural Kitti, Pohnpei, Micronesia, and impressed the hell out of them -- they
were very surprised I could cook over a fire and asked where I'd learned that;
I told them,in the Girl Scouts. Same answer I gave to the family I stayed with
in another part of the island when they commented that, unlike the other
Americans they knew of (I guess including the Peace Corps members they knew)
I seemed to be very adaptable and could accustom myself to sleeping, eating,
bathing, etc. the way they did.
Cooking in general I found a very useful skill, in particular cooking food
that was different from what people usually ate (so it was more of a treat) but
still adapted to their tastes -- starchy, rather bland, somewhat sweet; I made
a sloppy joe version of chili over rice that people liked. Rice
pudding was good if I didn't put nutmeg in it; potato pudding and lasagna went
over well (latter I made in an oven in town). I did have to figure out some
cooking techniques I didn't specifically learn in the Scouts, where we did pit
cooking occasionally but not the kind of uhmw (earth oven) the Pohnpeians use,
where you heat the stones and then pile food on them and then cover the mound
with leaves and burlap (we wouldn't have had leaves big enough in Pennsylvania)
I made pizza in the uhmw using a Bisquick crust quite successfully by putting
cut banana stalk underneath the pan, which kept the crust from burning but it
still came out nice and crisp. ONly problem with uhmw cooking is you have to b
e pretty good about guessing when the stuff is done, because once you take the
leaves off the heat goes out so you can't cook it any more. I made turkey in t
he uhmw too, wrapping it up in coconut palm leaves. Comes out like from a
Weber and it doesn't take as long as in a regular oven. I made gravy to go wit
h it, and I remember one woman out in Palikir eating a whole bowl of gravy by
itself -- like I said, people like starchy stuff. Anyway, I was able to adapt
what I already knew from Scout camping to available cooking technology, althoug
h once in Yap I had trouble barbecuing some chicken because the coconut husks,
which is all we had for fuel, kept burning out before the chicken was done.
The other useful social skill I had was dancing to entertain people but I
didn't learn that in the Scouts.
Eve Pinsker